More on the Missing Canadian Maher Arar
The Boston Globe has more on the mystery surrounding the US deportation of Canadian Maher Arar. For background, read our recent post "U.S. Deports Canadian Making a Connecting Flight to Syria" here.
From the Globe article:
"INS agents arrested Arar Sept. 26 during a layover at Kennedy International Airport and detained him in a federal prison until Oct. 10, according to his lawyer. A week into his detainment, he was allowed one phone call, to his mother-in-law in Ottawa, who hired lawyer Amal Oummih."
"Oummih said she was able to visit Arar just once. When she returned to the prison a few days later, Arar was gone. ''They told me there was a hearing, but they never notified me,'' Oummih said. ''They won't tell me where he was deported to. I kept asking and finally [an INS official] told me, `You won't find him in the US.'''
"Amal said that when she visited him Arar showed her a document that listed the charge as being a member of a foreign terrorist organization. The document, she said, later mentioned Al Qaeda."
Reynald Dioron, spokesman for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. said ''We have two core questions: Where was he removed to and what is the rationale behind the decision? This is very unusual.''
Of the hundreds of people detained after September 11, Canadian officials report this is the first time a Canadian has been deported to a third country. ''We're not saying anything about it,'' said INS spokesman Bill Strassberger. ''There's no explanation why. We're just not saying anything.'' (our emphasis)
Maher Arar's wife meanwhile waits in Tunisia where they had been vacationing when Arar took a flight back to return to work at a software company in Ottowa, a job he held for the past two years. Workers were shocked to learn of his disappearance. They described him as hard-working and friendly.
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